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Three Running Backs the Chargers Should Trade For

With the season-ending injury to Danny Woodhead; Louis Gorini takes a look at three running backs the San Diego Chargers could trade for.

Another week, another talented offensive weapon lost for the year for the San Diego Chargers. It was announced earlier today that versatile running back and fan favorite, Danny Woodhead, has a torn ACL and will sit out for the remainder of the season. Woodhead becomes the fifth offensive skill position player that the Chargers have lost to a season-ending injury (Stevie Johnson, Keenan Allen, Jeff Cumberland, and Branden Oliver).

San Diego will look to add another running back to their roster. Conventional wisdom says the Chargers should look at current free agents to help address their backfield concern. Names like Ronnie Hillman, Dexter McCluster, and C.J. Spiller have all been thrown around as possible replacements for Danny Woodhead. While free agency is the path of least resistance, the Chargers should also take a look at running backs on the trading block to help bolster their backfield. Here are three options that wouldn’t cost San Diego too much in a trade.


The Dallas Cowboys went through a complete overhaul of their backfield this offseason to help address the void left by DeMarco Murray. First, they signed veteran free agent Alfred Morris to a two-year deal. They followed that acquisition up by drafting Ezekiel Elliot with the fourth overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft. With the addition of these two high-profile running backs, it is no surprise Darren McFadden was going to be the odd man out. McFadden proved to be valuable last year for the Cowboys as he rushed for over 1,000 yards while averaging 4.6 yards per carry. The seven-year vet also displayed adequate receiving skills in 2015, as he caught 40 passes for 328 yards. Between Elliot, Morris, and Dunbar, Dallas has a plethora of running backs on their roster. Acquiring McFadden won’t break the bank for the Chargers either as he is coming back from an injury soon. If the Chargers part with a seventh-round draft pick, they can acquire a veteran running back that can spell/mentor Melvin Gordon, and also be able to help in the passing game as well.


Second-year running back, David Johnson, is on the cusp of being an elite rusher for the Arizona Cardinals. He is a bonafide three down running back that never has to come out of the game for any situation. What is also fortunate for Arizona, they have Chris Johnson and Stepfan Taylor who are able to come in and give Johnson a breather. So where does this leave Andre Ellington? Ellington was supposed to be Bruce Arians’ guy, but he proved time in and time out, he could not handle the punishment of a full 16 game season. When Ellington was on the field, he displayed electric ability and was a home run threat. He is a versatile running back that can run between the tackles or catch passes out of the backfield (had 46 receptions in 2014). Ellington is in his last year of his contract with the Arizona Cardinals and has been relegated to special teams duty. The San Diego Chargers would be smart to pick up the phone and ask the Cardinals if they will take a late round conditional pick in exchange for the four-year vet. And while they are on the phone with Arizona, they should ask how much would Bruce Arians cost as well.


Chargers fans might not be too familiar with Brandon Bolden. The Patriots running back is like a Swiss Army knife. Whatever New England has asked him to do, he has done it. He can carry a full workload as he displayed in last year’s game against the Houston Texans where he carried the ball 16 times for 51 yards. He can be a threat out of the backfield as he showed against Denver last year where he had 4 receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown. Bolden has even been used in short yardage duty for New England. The one knock on Bolden is his ball security. He has been in Bill Belichick's dog house numerous times for fumbling issues. However, trading for Bolden would give the Chargers a type of player they currently do not have in their backfield. Even though he isn’t the sexiest name, he would be the closest thing to Woodhead of the three. The Patriots have a loaded backfield with Blount and White, and it will only get stronger when Lewis returns to action. The cost for Bolden would be cheap, but the potential reward could be great.

HONORABLE MENTION: The Baltimore Ravens’ Buck Allen is a second-year player that does a great job at catching the ball out of the backfield. He has been a healthy scratch the last two weeks for the Ravens. Baltimore has a rookie running back they love in Kenneth Dixon and appear to be content throwing Terrence West and Justin Forsett out there each week until Dixon gets back. But the Ravens would be foolish to give up on Allen after one year.

So Charger fans, should San Diego trade for one of these running backs? Is there another running back they should look into for a possible trade? Or should the Chargers just stick to free agency? Let’s hear it!